Iowa’s two United States Senators — one Republican, one Democrat — will both vote today to extend drought aid to American farmers and ranchers hit by drought. Democrat Senator Tom Harkin, who helped draft the bill, has repeatedly said the government should step in to help as the drought has ravaged crops and forced farmers to sell off their livestock. Republican Senator Charles Grassley agrees.Grassley says over the past 50 years, the federal government has assumed the role of insurer of last resort for natural disasters like hurricanes and droughts. Many Republicans, including President Bush, have said the nearly six billion dollar drought aid package is too pricey.Grassley says it may be too much, but the bill will next go to the Republican-controlled House, so Grassley says when it’s all said and done, there’ll be a reasonable compromise. Senator Grassley says a bill that would extend tax breaks to men and women in the military will clear the Senate Finance Committee today. Grassley, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, is one of the bill’s co-sponsors. Grassley says 799 Iowans who are in the Guard or Reserve are on duty somewhere in the world today.The legislation sets up a new deduction for the expenses of traveling to weekend military drills and makes sure all “in-the-line-of-duty” death benefits the family would receive would be tax free. He says the bottom line is the bill pays respect to men and women making sacrifices, and in some cases, risking their lives for America.The bill also sets up a new way of calculating the tax consequences of home sales for those who are or have been on active duty.
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